Click here if you don’t see subscription options
America StaffMarch 08, 2024
Girls dance in a favela in Brazil in this photo by Sebastiano Rossitto for "Women's Cry," a photo exhibit open through May 28, 2023, in the colonnade around St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Courtesy of "Women's Cry")

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, 2024, we recognize the contributions of women and girls to society, as well as the ongoing efforts to uplift and empower them. Within the Catholic community, numerous charities and organizations advocate for women by providing spiritual and financial support and fostering initiatives that promote women’s well-being and advancement. From educational programs to health care services and economic empowerment initiatives to advocacy campaigns, these Catholic charities are among those creating a more equitable and just world for women and girls. This list is not exhaustive, and we encourage our readers to add the names of other Catholic charities in the comments section.

Salesian Missions

Donate here

In Ecuador, Salesian missionaries with Bosco Global have launched a project to provide 80 Indigenous artisan women in Ecuador with vocational training to improve artisanal processes, management and entrepreneurship.

In the Philippines, 15 young women who are first-year students at Don Bosco College, located in Canlubang, Philippines, have been awarded scholarships that will allow them to pursue their dreams of becoming skilled electrical technicians thanks to The Manila Electric Co. through One Meralco Foundation, according to a MissionNewswire article.

In Rwanda, young women in the Gender Matters for Green Technical and Vocational Education Training program at Don Bosco Gatenga, located in Gatenga, Rwanda, were provided toolkits for employment while completing their technical courses in plumbing and electricity.

In Sierra Leone, Don Bosco Fambul, one of Sierra Leone’s leading child welfare organizations, located in Freetown, offers the Girls Shelter GO+ program to support young girls who have been forced into sex work. Some of the girls are as young as 9 years old. Most of them have faced violence and sexual abuse. They include girls from other countries, villages or the poorest areas of Freetown, who all often are forced to provide financially for themselves and their families.


Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Donate here

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth arrived in Nepal on April 18, 1979, and in 1990, the Nepal Nazareth Society was established. Ever since, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth have worked toward women’s empowerment in the Navjyoti Women’s Training Centre, which educates women in various fields, such as tailoring, a beautician course, craft work and cooking, along with classes on health and hygiene, legal aid and family life. 


Bakhia Partnership for Girls Education

Donate here

In response to the diminishing enrollment of girls in school during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network–Africa launched the Bakhita Partnership for Education to reinforce the right of girls to education in Zambia and Kenya. The partnership, supported by religious sisters from a several communities, works directly with girls in sub-Saharan Africa. It offers training for religious sisters in what has been called gender-responsive education, an approach that considers the impact of cultural and societal norms that may inhibit learning and academic performance among female students. 


Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ

Donate here

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Volunteer Program offers long-term volunteer opportunities for Christian women seeking “to live out their baptismal call to share God’s presence in the world.” Volunteers serve in Chicago and Indiana, Mexico, Kenya, Germany and India in a variety of services, including social services, outreach to the elderly and care for Earth.



Donate here

In Fiji, Caritas Fiji’s First Responders program trains and supports volunteers to work together in their communities on community-led solutions to sexual violence and violence against women.

In South Africa, Caritas Mthatha/Catholic Development Centre focuses on enhancing the leadership skills of women. The program was implemented in partnership with the Umtata Women Support Centre.

In the Philippines, Caritas Philippines created community accountability teams predominantly led by and composed of women. These teams seek to reveal the true role of women in communities, which is made manifest in these women’s “ability to take care of both families and the communities in which they live, the readiness to be at the forefront for the common good, be it family or community.”


Cross Catholic Outreach

Donate here

In developing countries, women and girls are disproportionately affected by poverty and violence, especially in places where economic opportunities are limited. Cross-Catholic Outreach serves communities of women across the United States with food and shelter donations, protecting against human trafficking, Catholic school scholarships and providing Bibles to school children.


Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Donate here

Advocacy for women is one of the five “critical concerns” in the justice work of the sisters. Their efforts include helping women through educational and ecological projects.


Sisters of Life

Donate here

The mission of the Sisters of Life includes “serving women who are vulnerable to abortion, giving them the support and resources to be able to choose life for themselves and their children; hosting weekend retreats; evangelization; outreach to college students; and helping women who have suffered after abortion to encounter the mercy and healing of Jesus Christ.”


Jesuit Refugee Service Programs for Women and Girls #EmpowerHer

Donate here

By creating the #EmpowerHer program, “JRS believes that in order to ensure the wellbeing of refugee women and girls, it is necessary to develop a holistic understanding of the challenges they face. The solutions that JRS provides to overcome and reduce these challenges form a comprehensive strategy: integrating mental health and psychosocial support services, market-based livelihood programs, gender responsive education, and peace and reconciliation initiatives.”


Catholic Relief Services 

Donate here

In advocating for women and girls globally, “CRS recognizes that gender inequality critically impacts and intersects with trends of poverty, vulnerability and injustice—key areas where we seek transformational change…. Systematically addressing gender inequality both internally and in the communities where we work is central to achieving” integral human development. CRS’ gender equality conceptual framework helps to inform their programs, like savings-based microfinance


Maryknoll Sisters 

Donate here

The Maryknoll Sisters “provide crisis intervention services to help save lives; fight for justice for victims of misogyny and femicide; provide follow-up care, social integration, and healing; lobby for laws that will better women’s lives.”

Catholic Charities USA

Donate here

The legislative priorities of Catholic Charities USA address many issues that directly affect women and girls, including affirmative action, food security and respect for human life. The diocesan offices of Catholic Charities may also offer local programs, like the Women’s Recovery Program of the Diocese of Worcester, Mass.


Catholics for Family Peace

Donate here

Catholics for Family Peace works to end domestic violence and provide resources to women suffering from abuse.

The latest from america

An important international conference in Rome on May 21 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in China. Here’s what you need to know.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2024
During an audience with a delegation from Loyola University Chicago at the Vatican on May 20, Pope Francis said, “Education happens on three levels: the head, the heart and the hands.”
Pope FrancisMay 20, 2024
The proclamation comes just two weeks after the Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden.
People pick through discarded produce at the central market for fruit and vegetables in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Argentina has been in a state of economic upheaval for years with two constants—a continuous increase in poverty and corresponding efforts by the Catholic Church to respond to that need.
Lucien ChauvinMay 20, 2024